New location, same problem: Neighbors upset about potential new Allen County Jail location

Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 6:34 PM EST
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - It’s a story you might find familiar. Some neighbors are upset about the new proposed location for a new Allen County Jail, months after a federal judge demanded county commissioners address “Inhumane conditions” at the current downtown facility.

That new location sits in the 1900 block of Meyer Road near the Fort Wayne- New Haven border. This time, the angry neighbors live in the Sunnymede neighborhood and are worried about the potential impacts they say would be negative that would come from a new jail in their area.

“Concerns would be if anyone escaped, it would be how fast can they get them,” neighbor Katy Fagan said.

Fagan says she’s lived in the Sunnymede neighborhood for almost four years. She has two children and says she’s against the idea of a new county jail at a nearby industrial site.

“I already live next to a bar -- which seems pretty quiet -- but there are still concerns,” Fagan said.

At Friday’s commissioner’s meeting, some neighbors said this will drive people out of an area they say is underdeveloped and overlooked.

As we’ve told you, this isn’t the first time neighbors have been upset about a proposed location. For months, people on the city’s southeast side advocated for a jail to not be built at the corner of Paulding and Adams Center Roads.

“There’s always always a sense of ‘not in my backyard,’” Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters said. “I mentioned eight of the sites that we looked at up to this point. There’s no way that any one of those sites was going to please 100% of the people out there.”

This new proposed site -- while technically still in Fort Wayne -- is close to the city of New Haven.

In a phone interview, Mayor Steve McMichael said he still needs more information and is worried people could decide to leave New Haven.

“I think the lack of information may very well do that,” McMichael said. “I think like everyone else I’m looking forward to getting additional information and asking additional questions.”

County commissioners will go in front the federal judge on December 16. That’s when the judge will decide to either accept or reject that proposal. Before meeting with the federal judge, the Allen County Council has to approve the location at its next meeting on December 15. The site will have to be appraised too.

Mayor McMichael says there will also be a community information meeting January 10 at the New Haven Community Center.